What are the risks with Dental Crowns?
Generally, there are no real risks with having a crown made. We use a who make the crowns from TGA approved materials. Some other practices who have used offshore laboratories have had the experience of crowns failing or even rusting due to inferior or faulty materials being used.
Health considerations of individual patients are taken into account. For example, Dr. Ian will take time wherever possible to treat unhealthy gums before doing a crown preparation procedure.
Part of the assessment and discussion about the option of a crown centres around your specific circumstances. If an unacceptable risk to were found, we would discuss and adopt an alternate treatment option.
It may be tempting to combine a holiday and extensive dental treatment, citing a much cheaper price for dental work compared with the same work in Australia.
“For a third of the price and a holiday at the same time it sounds like an offer that’s too good to be true – but it isn’t that good,” says former federal president Dr John Matthews. “Most people go overseas because they want fairly complex dentistry done, and the more complex it is, the more likely that something will go wrong. And when it fails, it fails big time.”
Infection control in these countries may not be as rigorously mandated and maintained as in Australia. Sterility of materials and instruments cannot be assured.
Many of the qualifications that overseas dentists have received are not comparable with Australian education standards. If these overseas dentists come to Australia, they face lengthy qualifying periods with additional education being mandatory in order to be registered to practice in Australia.
Some practitioners in these countries advertise they are “Australian trained”. Unfortunately this sometimes means that they have attended a short course by an Australian speaker or have watched lectures online by Australian institutions or groups.
Quality of Materials
Materials that are used in these countries are sometimes not of the same quality and longevity as materials used in Australia. There have been reports of inappropriate material being used as “fillers” to cut the material costs to the operators. If you do your homework searching the Internet, you’ll see stories of people who discovered afterward that their crown contained lead or other toxic compounds.
Lack of Healing Time
Often, a number of complex procedures are performed within a short time span (while the patient is on holidays at these destinations) and there can be insufficient time between stages of the procedure. The more complex the procedure/s, the greater the risks of failure and complications.
If you need to allow a longer healing time, your original time frame may have to be considerably extended. This may not be acceptable with leave from jobs, family commitments or other time constraints.
Getting Help or Follow-up Treatment
If there is a problem with the crown once you return to Australia, it is unlikely you will be able to claim recompense from the overseas dentist or the tour company that arranged the treatment. For example: Global Health Travel’s website clearly states:
“We will not encourage, advise, advocate or underwrite any of the doctors or healthcare facilities in our network. The final choice is completely yours.”
There are no clear avenues for complaint if the treatment or outcome is not satisfactory.
If remedial work needs to be done in Australia, the procedure to fix the problem may be more expensive and extensive than the original Australian quote.
It’s easy to understand making a decision based on cost, the facility (pictures showing a beautiful and pristine facility), and manner of the operator as benchmarks of good, quality dentistry. Yet this leaves you entirely unaware of the practitioner’s calibre of dental work. And similarly, unaware of any any health issues which may result from the procedure, and often take time to develop.
See more in our Cheaper Costs Overseas? section.
You may notice sensitivity after a crown has been placed. This may be because the underlying tooth has become sensitive and may need further treatment. Sometimes the occlusion (contact between teeth) may not be adjusted correctly. There may be a slight gap at the edge where the crown and tooth meet, and the root surface may be exposed.
It is important, as with all teeth, to floss and brush regularly. Remember crowned teeth need the same care as your regular teeth – decay and gum health can develop as if you don’t.
If a you develop gum disease and your gums recede, you may expose the roots of your crowned tooth. These roots are covered with a softer material than enamel and may be vulnerable to decay.
Very occasionally, a crown may come off the tooth. This usually happens with old crowns where the cement may have deteriorated and often decay has developed underneath the crown. If sharp or excess pressure is applied, the crown may come off.
Biting or chewing hard items eg ice, olive pits, pens etc or trauma to the mouth may result in chipping or cracking of the porcelain on a crown, just as natural teeth may chip or crack in these circumstances.